Puro Politics is a weekly podcast hosted by columnist Gilbert Garcia, covering the drama and nuance of local government issues.
Produced by Joy-Marie Scott.
When Dawn Emerick took over as the director of San Antonio’s Metropolitan Health District five months ago, she couldn’t have foreseen the extraordinary pressures that would define her tenure.
Emerick, who came to San Antonio from Oregon, brought a wealth of energy and expertise, as well as a passion for public health services that was rooted in her own blue-collar upbringing in Maryland.
But the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic not only consumed Emerick’s attention, it also created unimaginable stress for her at a time when she was just beginning to acquaint herself with the San Antonio community.
Last Friday, Emerick announced her resignation.
On ExpressNews.com: San Antonio health director resigns as region sees coronavirus surge
The loss of the city’s health director, during a period when COVID-19 case numbers are exploding, was a topic of conversation on this week’s episode of the Express-News’ Puro Politics podcast.
“At first blush, it really does appear that the pressure became too great for her,” Brian Chasnoff said. “And she left due to that.”
Chasnoff pointed out that he wrote a profile piece about Emerick last month and she told him at the time that she was getting very little sleep.
“She was complaining about the pressure back then. And this was before the (COVID-19) surge that we’re experiencing right now,” Chasnoff said.
On ExpressNews.com: Metro Health director came to San Antonio just ahead of the coronavirus
“This was back when the caseloads were at manageable levels. They were mostly in congregant settings and the rate of COVID-19 patients who test positive was below 5 percent. It’s just been a massive surge.
“I’m sure anyone in that position would feel a great deal of stress and responsibility.”
Hear this and other topics discussed on this week’s edition of Puro Politics.